tagRomanceClown No More

Clown No More

byMichaelFitzgerald©

Copyright © 2018 - This is an original work by Michael Fitzgerald and is protected under copyright by U.S. copyright law. It is only submitted at Literotica.Com. Any submission to another site has not been authorized by the Author and is an infringement of copyright. Such other site is requested to remove this story. All persons depicted in this work are at least 18 years of age.

Here's a Happy Holiday story to wrap up the year. Time ticks so cherish everyone, every chance you get. Credit Wm. Shakespeare for a great closing line. My crack editing team didn't return my calls so I have no one to blame but myself. Best wishes.

*****

I spend a lot of my time around the house fixing things. I work construction, mainly cement, so I'm good with my hands. You can call me Robb. Kate's my wife of 22 years, and we have two girls, twins born 18 months after we tied the knot. Emma's engaged and getting married in three weeks to Bill, an ROTC candidate at State University, majoring in engineering. He's a smart kid with a good head on his shoulders. I know I'm supposed to give suitors for my girls a hard time, and I did a little, but I liked Bill when I first met him. Good men make good husbands and good fathers, so I think I lucked out on this one.

Kate and Lori, Emma's twin, were huddled in the kitchen, planning something. Every so often, they would burst into giggles. Then, the whispering would start up again. Not that I had any of the details. It shouldn't be news to you that fathers of the bride are kept in the dark and light in the wallet. The only guy smiling was the caterer. That said, in no way was I above eavesdropping.

"So how many do you think?" That was Emma asking Lori.

"At least four. Are six too many?" Lori always sounds serious and she does try to keep her control mania in check - well, most of the time anyway,

"How about five, that would cost less than six but still look like a lot, don't you think?"

I know when Kate is trying to be serious but really is about to bust a gut laughing. "Emma, you are absolutely, ... absolute .. Oh God, yes, five is perfect."

Again, there were gales of laughter and the sound frantic notes being scribbled. Clearly, their party plans were coming together, and they thought it was going to be hilarious. Maybe so, but I've been to my share of hen parties. I wanted no part of a bachelorette shindig. I gratefully moved on to the next chore, careful to be quiet as I escaped.

My last thought was wondering how much the party would cost. I could never have guessed.

******************************

"Honey, we need to talk."

Yeah, I've read those stories too. The Five Words of Marital Death. But how bad could it be? I'd bite.

"So, what's up? You going to divorce me? Start stepping out with a boyfriend?"

"Don't be stupid, Robb. I've got you where I want you and I'm never letting you go. No, it's about the party for Emma. We have some entertainment lined up for the night. It's a small dance troupe, all men and one of them sprained his ankle. They don't perform with only four and there's no time to get someone else." Kate was giving me that look again, the "dirty job" look, the one that says, "pretty please, do this for me and I'll totally make it worth your while." Or else!

After 20 years of matrimony, if you have any sense, you know your wife deals the cards from the bottom of the deck. It only looks like a free and open conversation to fool the tourists. She asks you nicely to do something that makes you wince; you say no way. She says it's not that bad; you say I'll feel stupid. She says but they won't know who you are; you say I'll know who I am, and I'll feel stupid. And then, sweetly, she drops the hammer. Honey, this is really important to Emma and me and I'd think you'd want to make her happy. But if you're gonna be selfish and get all caught up in your fragile male ego ... .

When your wife's eye-rolling pause comes to its intentionally awkward end, you knuckle under, say "yes, dear," and get with the program. So, here's the deal I got roped into. Five guys have a dance routine they do at bachelorette parties. They wear costumes, do some dancing around, pretty much weight lifting moves to music, pose and make a fuss over the bride to be. And they wear clown masks so no one knows who they are.

Isn't that just so perfect!!

I would fill in, fake some dance moves, and the show would go on. Emma would have her night. I wasn't happy about it but I said okay so long as I wasn't made to look like a fool. I made Kate promise to protect me and she said she would.

***********************

I got there early so there was no chance Emma would see me. We were in black sleeveless jumpsuits, loose fitting, nothing underneath, and barefoot. As I pulled my jumpsuit up, one of the guys helped me lace it closed across my shoulders. Everything hung from that. I liked the guys I was going to do this with. They were all ex-jocks, looking to make a little side cash. Good guys, they had me laughing at stories about wild things that happened at other parties. God, I hoped Emma or Lori didn't do anything as crazy as what I heard went on.

The clown mask was really good. It was made of molded rubber and fit okay on my head, a big red wig on top. It wasn't loose or anything. I was set to go. We had to be ready off stage 10 minutes before the start time and we got to hear the women arriving, their chatter and laughter. I could feel the rising excitement. I was getting pumped up for what looked to be an amazing night. I had a momentary flash of me at center stage, doing some great dance move. Everyone would be applauding. I'd take off my mask and my girls would be so proud of me. Tell me, what dad in my place wouldn't have been thinking the same thing?

"Ladies, One and All!!" Kate was kicking the night off.

"Tonight, is our dear Emma's bachelorette party (much whistling and cheers) and we have a fabulous night ahead. But to get things started, we give you the "Cocky Clowns."

The lights came up, the music blared, and we jumped and swaggered our way on the stage. Three in front and two back, I was in the center. It was like my dream. We had four simple moves we did in order right away. The women were going nuts; I could barely hear the music. At the end of the third dance bit, I was supposed to wind up with my fists in the air like Rocky, feet apart, defiant. I hit my mark, center stage right at footlights, punched my fists high. And from behind, a guy on each side pulled the cord that held my jumpsuit together. Before I could react, it was falling off me. Before I could move, everything I had to wear, except my mask, was gone.

The Cocky Clowns were a "please touch" but "don't get too rowdy" sexy dance group. One by one, the dancers get naked. The girls get to play with the merchandise but nothing goes too far. Somehow, Kate had failed to copy me on the memo.

Because I was close to the front, I could see past the spotlights. Right in front of me were Emma, Lori and Kate sitting together. My girls were shrieking in surprise. Lori was pointing at my penis and saying something to Emma. Kate was laughing hysterically, her face red, struggling to catch a breath. All I know is this.

The room suddenly was quiet. I could see every face, what every person was doing, like I was watching a high-definition movie. My girls were looking at me, naked on stage, and laughing. I'm not sure why I did it, but I took my mask off. At first, a few women saw who I was. Someone yelled out my name and then everyone knew. Now, the room was quiet for everybody and I was pissed and hurt.

"Kate asked me to be here tonight and do this," I said. "She asked me to help her out and help Emma out. Kate didn't tell me what she had planned for me. Kate kept that a secret. I didn't know it would happen. Kate said she wouldn't let anything bad happen to me. But, well, you know how that turned out. All of you, including my daughters, were here to watch and now you can watch me leave."

In total silence, I walked back to the jumpsuit. I picked that and the mask up and left, using them in a pointless attempt at modesty. Behind me, I could hear things getting rough. The dance guys said sorry, they didn't know I was being set up and ran for their cars. Naked, I got in my truck and went home. I started to pack a bag but forgot how to do that. Can you believe it? I could not remember how to put my clothes in a suitcase. Instead, I just threw clothes on the bed and used the sheets to haul everything to my truck. I threw some shoes in too. I left our wedding photo in the BBQ grill, burning. I left my wedding band on the dining room table.

I drove aimlessly for a while. I couldn't go home, and I couldn't go to my shop. They'd find me. Kate might not remember that I owned a small string of attached garages on Route 113 that were vacant at the moment (I had been thinking of converting them to small office rentals). Maybe I could go there and she'd never find me. There was a used camper in the first bay, out of date but clean and everything worked. I'd live there. I'd disappear, at least until after the wedding. I couldn't face my girls after what had just happened. I knew I couldn't survive the embarrassment of being seen at Emma's wedding. I'd rather die.

It took four days for them to find me. A worried neighbor saw me food shopping and followed me back. Minutes later, Kate was pounding on the garage door.

"Robb! Robb!! It's Kate, we have to talk. Robb! I know you're there. Open up." After half an hour, she was still pounding away. I opened the door to find her, pissed off and flanked by Bill and Emma.

"Why the committee, Kate? Why the witnesses? At this point, what do you need to say that you haven't already made clear?" Kate was trying to talk over me but, hearing what I said, she winced.

"So, I guess you're here to tell me that it was all a joke. Everyone was having a good time. No one had to know it was me. Not until I took off my mask, right?"

"Dammit, Robb, Yes!! Why did you do that? No one would have known. It would have been our private thing. I was going to be so good to you when we got home. Why did you ruin everything?" Kate was trembling, exhausted, stressed beyond all limits and, I thought, maybe terrified.

"I could have kept it a secret, Kate, just like you kept your little plan to humiliate me a secret. Then, I would have had the privilege of worrying for the rest of my life that Emma might find out. Then, she would come to me, hurt and disappointed, not just for what I'd done. I'd get the pleasure of explaining why I hid everything from her."

I kind of broke down as I said the rest. "You see, Kate, what I realized standing there naked, looking at my daughters, was this. What you did with your little stunt was to change me in my daughters' eyes. For them, I was the guy who was there from the first moment of life, who held his new babies right after they were born and fell in love with them forever. The days I was low, when I doubted that I could live up to what I promised I would do for my family, I'd close my eyes and think about how my little girls looked at me because, to them, I was larger than life. I could do anything, be anything for them, because I was their Daddy." I was falling apart by this point. "So, I couldn't lie to Emma. That night, I saw that light go out in her eyes. That's what you took from me. That's what you've done."

Kate was frozen in place, her expression one of something beyond despair. She looked back at the young couple, who in turn looked away. Emma was crying with Bill holding her tight. They too were sorry at what had befallen us but were as clueless as the rest of us how to fix things.

"Robb, I didn't .. I didn't .." Kate was on her knees, crumpling forward as if her belly had been cut open.

"I don't know how to forgive you for this, Kate. And all for what?" I closed the door behind me and went back to my too-quiet and desperately sad home.

*************************************

I opened the garage door. It was early and I needed to get to work. Lori was sitting on the hood of her car, waiting. I walked over. What was the point of running away?

"Hey baby, how are you?"

"Not good."

"Lot of that going around lately."

"Daddy, when are you coming home?"

"Don't know if I am or ever will. Not feeling like much of a father any more."

"Mom says she's sorry."

"Okay and ...?"

"You ever going to forgive her?"

"Should I? Seems to me that the woman I married and loved with all my heart plotted and planned to turn me into ... hell, I can't even say what ... in front of my own daughters. You okay with that, Lori? Should I say no biggie, no blood, no foul ..."

I was losing it and I stopped. Somethings, once said, cannot be taken back and I was nearly in that country.

"It's just that Emma refuses to get married unless you walk her up the aisle. I've tried to change her mind but she told Bill and his parents, and the word's getting out to family. If things don't get calmed down right now, Emma's wedding is going to go sideways and who knows if it ever gets back on track again?" Fair enough, Lori was telling it like it was. It was up to me now to decide how things would be.

Once upon a time, I had the chance to quit my job and go in with two other guys to start a construction company. If I cashed in my 401k, wiped out our savings, sent Kate back to work and borrowed money from my parents, I would have been a one-third partner of what is now a company worth 70 million dollars. I didn't take that risk because by keeping my job and working every day, by doing it slow and steady, there was never a day my babies were ever at risk of going hungry or not having what they needed. Maybe that's a hard choice for some but, really, you promised long before your baby girls were even born to do the right thing, no excuses.

************************************

I walked back down the aisle, having escorted the mother of the bride to her pew. Kate was beautiful. The bridesmaids were lined up and I could see the bride at the back of the church, her veil so white in the sunlight.

Emma took my arm and we waited for the wedding march. We started off and she gave my arm a little squeeze. My heart was racing, so glad I agreed to this. How could I have lived with myself if I had refused? At the rehearsal last night, the priest had us face each other in front of the altar rail. Emma would lift her veil back and I would give her a peck. Then, I would step back, Emma would drop her veil, and go to her new man and life with him.

I turned like I was supposed to and Emma was already there, her veil off and on the floor behind her. Oh no, that wasn't right, and I bent down to retrieve it. Emma stopped me and with all her might wrapped her arms around me, hugging me, not letting me go, kissing me, crying, laughing. And in a moment I was too. Emma took my head in her hands, made me look at her, made me see her. And it was there, the light that had sustained me in all my darkest hours. Lori came back from the altar and joined us. What is it that daughters give their fathers? What pure energy do they share with us that squares our shoulders and warms our hearts? How long did we hold on to that moment? Don't know. Don't care. The people there knew our story. How could they not? Here, before their very eyes, they could witness love triumphant. What better thing to applaud and applaud they did.

With joy, I gave my daughter's hand in marriage and stepped back to my pew. (Yes, I cried through the whole damn thing.)

Epilogue

It was inevitable and frankly I was glad that it happened. Emma hosted Thanksgiving and Kate was going to be there. Try keeping her away after Emma announced their first child. Had I calmed down or wised up or was that the same thing? I said sure, I'd be there and what could I bring?

I thought it was odd that Emma had me sit on the long side of the table at one end. I assumed that the seat of honor next to me was for Bill, but then he sat across from me. When Kate sat next to me, I saw the trap closing. Even so, it was kind of smart. We weren't looking at each other but were still side-by-side. Our much-anticipated grandchild gave us something to talk about so it wasn't too awkward. Later, the women shooed the men away from the table and sent them off to watch football. I was feeling lost and Kate took my arm.

"Have a minute to talk with an old friend?" I didn't know how to respond to that, so I let her lead the way. We walked outside. Bill's father had a scrap-wood bonfire going and we stood near enough to enjoy its warmth but far enough away to talk.

"Robb, I know you hate me and I get why. And I am resigned that you'll never take me back. I don't blame you at all for that. I got carried away and did what I did to get what I wanted. I never thought of you and what it would do to you. And for that I am so sorry.

"But we are going to have a new baby in this house. We need to able to get along and to be there for Emma and her baby. Whatever happened, whatever went wrong between us, they don't deserve us dragging our past into their home, and they need us. You know that."

Truth that, I'd been having my own thoughts about the future. Damn me though if I was going to make things that easy.

"Kate, I can find it in my heart to do as you say but I have conditions. I think they're pretty much non-negotiable, but you can say what you think after you hear them." Kate's face fell a bit, clearly expecting another build-up to an angry explosion on my part.

"First, you are moving out of the house." Kate looked stricken but didn't object. "Second, you are going to quit your job. Third, you're going to move in with the man I pick for you and give him all the loving attention you say you'd give me." Kate was shaking her head "no" but that was fine. I enjoyed the confusion playing across her face. Now, it was my turn to give her a twist.

"Last but not least, Kate, you will be moving in with me. I'm the only man you'll ever be with now and forever. So get used to it." I did enjoy watching her shocked expression.

"So, if you can live with the rules I just laid down, I guess we're good to go."

Kate is feisty, and I expected a fight. "I'm just supposed to accept whatever rules you dictate, Robert James Sims." Kate was getting worked up, but her giggling was ruining the effect. "And I suppose you'll be chasing after me for sex all the time?" I wasn't taking that bait. I just sat back and let her stew.

"You will, won't you? Robb, promise me ..." I started tickling her. Shrieking, Kate backed away, looking for her escape.

"Promise me, Robb, promise me you'll be chasing me for sex all the time! Promise me, dammit!!" Robb!!" Shrieks, lots of giggling, Kate took off running around the fire, me chasing.

Kate turned on me, hands on hips, glaring me down. God, she looked a sight in the fire's glow. So alive! So entrancing! How far had I shoved my head up my ass over all this?

At the top of her lungs, Kate shouted, "Robb Sims, you are going to chase me for sex all the time or I will not move in with you!"

The screen door slammed open and half the household poured out onto the porch. The rest were hanging out the windows.

"They're at it again." Lori called out to her sister. Cheers and laughter from family and friends, the wounds were healing. The circle would stay unbroken.

Last to go back in, Emma looked at us sternly. "I will expect you two to be better role models for my children than your recent behavior suggests." Kate and I looked at each other, our jaws literally dropping. What did she just say?

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